10 things to do in Guatemala

10 things to do in Guatemala | GuatexplorerIt is not only 10 things, and it could be other ten things than those I suggest here. OK, you can do even 13 things. Or 27. I go with this strange internet fashion of making lists. In fact, I wanted to say this: whenever you visit some country make your list, but be careful not to do all. Thus you'll return one day. And that will feel good, trust me.

1. Dance to a marimba

Marimba is a national instrument of Guatemala that you will encounter very often while visiting this country. Every type of party or event must be, at least partially, spiced with marimba performance. Players are often youngsters, women or even people with disabilities. So, why not take a shot and dance? Moves are relatively easy and joining the party would improve your social life here.

2. Go somewhere where only the locals go

Not only because of the prices, that are definitely not „gringo prices“, but for the charm of it. Of course, you'll take normal precautions (like not flashing jewelry or having a wallet in a back pocket) and you'll have some nice time. Depending on the place, you'll notice that a part of the people doesn't speak Spanish at all. That is one of the genuine advantages of Guatemala: rural life here is not staged for you, it really exists.

10 things to do in Guatemala | Guatexplorer

3. Climb a volcano

You'll hear that Guatemala has 29 to 39 volcanos, the official number being 33. That is because some of them are eroded and therefore not counted, although they do offer splendid landscapes. No matter which number is the most accurate one, it would really be a shame not to climb on some of them. Most offered climbs are Pacaya and Agua, both near Antigua, but you can treat yourself with more complicated climbs like Acatenango, Toliman or Tajumulco – the highest peak of Central America and the king of the volcanoes. If you'll be doing it only for the sake of the view from the top, keep in mind that weather is unpredictable in Guatemala and that clouds can easily take away that motive. In any case, a climb is a big win, especially if you combine it with the local gastronomy.

4. Swim in Semuc Champey

In spite of the fact that Semuc is a National Park, you'll be able to dive into the turquoise pools formed by the limestone barriers. Believe me, it is a thrill created by clear water and canyon towering over you, an experience worth your trip on those lousy roads. Just be careful to obtain proper info before going there; lately, there is a clash between the government and the locals about the distribution of the funds created by the tourist visits to Semuc Champey. Sometimes roads are blocked and you will not swim.

5. Eat some tapado in Livingston

Tapado is a dish made of a variety of seafood, coconut milk and a lot of vegetables. It is definitely something Caribbean on the Atlantic coast of the country. You can eat it in many places in the area, but I do recommend you to combine that delight with a visit to Livingston, the town of the black Garifuna people. Thus you'll create a nice and positive cultural shock that might open your appetite.

10 things to do in Guatemala | Guatexplorer

6. Taste coffee on lake Atitlan

Sitting on the shore of the lake that is surrounded and overlooked by three big volcanoes is an attraction by itself. If we add a coffee mug in your hand while watching the natural beauty of Atitlan – now that is an exaggeration, even challenging ancient Mayan Gods. But, be careful here. Make a little inquiry before they make you a coffee. It is simply because they often sell a bit lousier one in their everyday offer, but no doubt that they will have better one somewhere behind a counter.

7. Feel the atmosphere in Todos Santos

I still stand by my opinion that visiting Todos Santos is, in fact, enjoying Guatemalan kind of Tibet. People are different there, their houses are different and all concerning Todos Santos is a bit different. It will be the best place off the beaten track until it becomes a beaten track. Still, Todos Santos is not a touristy place, a majority of the people there don't even speak Spanish. What is the best time to visit? Now. Or tomorrow. Or any other day.

8. Fly a chopper to El Mirador

If you search your internets you'll easily find out that El Mirador is an archaeological site that is still being excavated. And that there is an enormous pyramid, most likely biggest in both Americas called La Danta. Then you'll discover also that visiting this place takes a strenuous two-day hike in the forests of Peten. To avoid that Indiana Jones activity and enjoy the mystery, you'll have to take a chopper. Don't worry, an individual fare would be around 450 bucks as far as I know. And I do know.

10 things to do in Guatemala | Guatexplorer

9. Buy on a largest open market in Chichi

Chichicastenango, a town in Guatemalan highlands, is often called Chichi by the locals. Every Thursday and Sunday town turns into the largest open market in Central America. Now, for you as a visitor, the point is not in an extremely wide assortment of things to buy. Point is that you can see people gathered in their everyday life. Very traditional people. Whatever you can find in an entire country is there in one place. And after pushing through the crowd, you'll be hungry. What a nice opportunity to taste something totally different in Chichi.

10. Meet Maximon

In several places in Guatemala, you can see him. Maximon, a very strange God of many passions and addictions, is a sight to see. Usually, he sits in a room, dressed as a Gringo, while devoted believers leave him rum and cigarettes. Every year he changes the place of worship that is usually located in some family house. Even to a complete non-believer, Maximon looks appealing. I'm just waiting that filmmakers discover this story and make a brand new horror starring Maximon. Maximon goes to Hollywood, that would be a blockbuster.

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